Product Sampling Agency | A Little Bird

How to Get the Most Out of A Product Sampling Agency

What is one of the most common thoughts going through consumers’s minds before they decide to try a new product? It’s the thought that they wish they could try out that new product before committing to it and purchasing it!

Imagine yourself in this situation. You’re shopping for a new perfume or cologne and see a particularly enticing box. Maybe you’ve heard various social media outlets rave about how good that new product is. However, it is a bit pricey, and you certainly don’t want to buy something full-sized until you try it for yourself. If only there was a way for brands to offer smaller sizes of these goods to consumers before they purchase a full size of them.

Luckily, there is! Welcome to the world of product sampling. Product sampling involves getting smaller, free samples into the hands of prospective customers so they can interact with the product themselves! It’s an ingenious way to connect with your target market, create brand advocates, and receive direct feedback from the thing that matters most: your loyal customers.

A product sampling agency is a great tool that allows you to keep focusing on your own business while letting an expert manage all the ins and outs of your product sampling. Today, the A Little Bird team is excited to teach you all about how a product sampling agency like ourselves can help you explode your business on an exponential scale.

First Thing’s First: What’s a Product Sampling Agency?

An agency of people sitting around a desk smiling.
An example of a product sampling pop-up booth.

Product sampling agencies are organizations that help you and your business strategically give out samples of your goods and products to consumers! On the surface, it might not seem like you need or benefit from the help of a product sampling agency. 

However, after taking a deep dive into the experiential marketing strategy and product sampling, many businesses realize that there’s far more to it than meets the eye. What seems so simple turns into an all-out brainstorming session on how to realistically distribute free samples that translate to immediate purchases while not ruining your marketing efforts or putting your budget at risk. 

At its core, a product sampling agency is a professional marketing agency full of different professionals that help you understand your industry from a customer perspective while also achieving your business goals and seeing realistic growth.

When you and a product sampling agency collaborate together, your business will reap the many benefits of this underrated form of marketing. The key to this is getting the most out of your relationship with a product sampling agency, and that’s what A Little Bird is here to help you understand. 

Understand Your Business Goals

People sitting around a business table talking about goals.
A typewriter with the word "Goals" at the top of a sheet of paper.

Before starting up a sampling experiential marketing campaign or even hiring a product sampling agency, it’s important to come up with goals. There are many types of business goals you can have, all of which you will eventually include at the forefront of your marketing plans.

Here are some of our top tips on creating both long-term and short-term goals that are realistic.

Uncover Your Target Demographic

A pinpoint on a map with an American Flag, suggesting the location of US being a target audience.
A target to represent looking for a business's target demographic.

The first thing you need to do that’ll help your marketing plan and relationship with a sampling agency thrive is to decide on a target demographic. This allows you to do a number of different things. 

For starters, you’ll be able to focus more of your money (and effort) on the types of consumers that are most likely to purchase your products. Even gigantic corporations that practically have an unlimited marketing budget have their target audience nailed down. In the end, it saves time, effort, and money!

Additionally, knowing your target demographic will help out the product sampling agency you hire as well. It keeps them on task and helps them create marketing campaigns, brand events, and product samples that your target market is most likely to become interested in. 

For some businesses, their sole purpose exists because they’re creating products tailored towards solving issues that a target demographic has! Of course, this depends on the type of product you’re selling. And, solving the dilemma of what your target demographic is will be easier for some than others. Here are some tips that’ll help you come up with a target demographic for your business.

Identify Existing Purchasing Trends

Someone looking at different types of products that are trending.
Someone shopping at a shopping center looking for trending products.

The biggest giveaway of information is none other than the existing market trends for your business’s niche. Perform internet searches for patterns or attributes of individuals that purchase the type of product you’re selling. Utilize research tools that give you the age, location, sex, occupation, and other relevant information of individuals interested in your type of product firsthand.

Gathering all this information can help you realize what types of individuals are going to be interested in your products. 

Ask Yourself Questions Regarding Target Audience Traits

A magnifying glass looking in on different groups of people.
A magnifying glass looking in on specific demographics of people.

Another way to discover what your target audience consists of is by asking yourself questions about the traits and attributes you want or are likely to serve with your product. What age group is your product or service tailored to? Is the product designed more for women or men, or does sex not matter? 

What types of benefits do people who purchase your product receive? In some cases, your product might solve a problem. What problem does that product solve, and who’s most likely to be plagued by that problem?

Ask Yourself Who Your Target Audience Isn’t

A post-it note that has a cross mark through a circle, signifying the eliminating options.
Crossing items off a checklist with a yes or no answer.

As important as it is to ask yourself what traits you notice or want in a target audience, it’s just as important to ask yourself what traits your target audience shouldn’t have. This doesn’t have to be some big exclusionary topic, but rather one that eliminates groups of people that simply wouldn’t be affected by or need your product.

It’s sort of like a process of elimination. If all else fails and you can’t figure out any other relevant traits for your target demographic, ask yourself who doesn’t need your product or who wouldn’t benefit from it. 

At the end of the day, if you still don’t know who your target demographic is, you can always ask for help from a sampling agency or another marketing agency! Here at A Little Bird, we not only help you construct product sampling events, but we can also help you with the bare bones information when it comes to your marketing campaigns. 

See Where Your Business Thrives

A picture of a Reese's pop-up shop that has different product options.

Someone looking at different business data to identify positive trends.

Another pro tip to developing both long-term and short-term business goals is to see where your business thrives. Do you have any existing marketing ventures that are proving successful with high conversion rates? Do you have specific product packaging or themes that seem to influence a purchase decision for your customers? 

Identifying these different trends and high points in your business can help you frame more specific goals that you know you’ll achieve. After all, why fix something if it isn’t broken?

Ask Yourself What You’re Struggling With

A stressed out business man with his hands and laptop on his head.
A frustrated woman looking at a screen on her computer.

This may be a hard question to ask yourself. No one likes realizing that they may be struggling, especially when it comes to their business. However, it’s a necessary question that can pave the way for success if you’re honest and open about your business struggles. 

Are there areas where you could benefit from the help of a product sampling agency? Do you have products that aren’t performing well? Maybe you have other internal business practices that may be getting in the way of your success. 

Whatever the case may be, there’s no need to feel ashamed about needing help. After all, that’s what sampling agencies such as ourselves are here to help you with! We love to help areas of business that are struggling and turn them into opportunities for success. If anything, realizing that your business is struggling already gives you an edge over your competitors, who may keep blind to what’s not successful.

Develop Your KPIs

A trending upward 'line' of coins and houses on top of them to signify a KPI.
A table of business women talking about different business metrics and KPIs.

What is success? What does success look like for your specific business? While these might sound like philosophical or open-ended questions, they’re questions that you need to know the answer to in order to develop achievable business goals.

You can’t expect yourself to achieve any goals if you have no way of measuring success! In the business world, measuring success can be thought of as “increased sales”, "genuine reviews", or “business expansion”, but that won’t be enough to create those concrete stepping stones that pave your way to marketing success.

KPIs, or key performance indicators, are specific units of measurement that businesses utilize in order to evaluate their successes or shortcomings. They’re specific to each business and industry, so a clothing company’s KPIs won’t be the same as a protein bar company’s KPIs, for example. 

Examples of KPIs include specific revenue growth, quarterly product sales, a profit margin, consumer retention rates, and more. Chances are, you probably have a good idea of what your KPIs are and came up with those when first starting your business.

Finding The Best Product Sampling Agency For Your Business

The A Little Bird team, sitting around a table and smiling while talking business.

One of the biggest challenges businesses face in marketing is finding an agency that suits them the best. So, of course, if you want to get the most out of a product sampling agency, you’re going to need to find one that’s right for you.

Here are some key factors to look out for when researching and looking for a product sampling agency.

An Agency’s Range of Services

People discussing different services they're offering as an agency.
A paper with "social media marketing" on it, with books of varying media services at the side.

This can be a tricky one to nail. Some product sampling agencies are experts in one niche, while others aren’t tied down to just one niche. Just because you come across a certain product sampling agency that solely focuses on your industry doesn’t mean you should automatically include or exclude them from your search.

What does matter is the range of services they offer within their company, regardless of the niches they specialize in. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine whether or not an agency’s range of services is going to be sufficient for you:

  • Can that agency fully help you with your product sampling and marketing endeavors?
  • Is it a deal-breaker for you if that agency can’t help you with everything?
  • What services do you need, and what services are those that you need an agency to help you with?
  • What services can you do yourself?

This isn’t an exhaustive list of questions, but by now, you should have a good idea of whether or not a specific agency is going to be helpful enough for you.

Dynamic Pricing

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Someone offering up their debit card as if completing a transaction.

When we mention dynamic pricing, we don’t mean that you should go demanding the lowest prices around. You’re welcome to do that, but you probably would put a bad taste in the mouths of the product sampling agencies that you talk to. 

Dynamic pricing refers to pricing that changes based on your project’s needs. For example, a product sampling agency that operates on a dynamic pricing model would charge different prices for a business that needs all the services under the sun versus a business that only needs help in a few areas. 

Finding a sampling agency that has dynamic pricing is of importance to many brands, regardless of industry or niche. If you’re looking into sampling agencies that offer static pricing or that aren’t even willing to discuss their pricing until you sign on with them, it’s probably a good idea to look elsewhere.

Experience, Knowledge, and Credibility

A senior business woman talking to a group of newer employees.
A picture of 5 stars on a line, to signify that a business has five stars and is good.
A client and business man shaking hands, making a deal.

Another positive indicator of the prospective sampling agencies you research is their level of experience, knowledge, and credibility. The best product sampling agencies have the best of all worlds. They’ll have a mix of experiences, a high level of knowledge and research skills, as well as credibility from the loyal client base they build.

One way to determine credibility, experience, and knowledge is by looking into a product sampling company’s portfolio and peeking through any client reviews or testimonials they have. Results speak for themselves, and you’ll likely be able to tell through reading those testimonials and looking at their projects whether or not that agency is successful and credible.

A Good Balance of Creativity and Data-Driven Methods

People gathered around a table, tossing around and planning out creative ideas.
Business people looking at pieces of data and making decisions based on that data.

Excellent product sampling agencies have a great balance of creativity and data-driven methods in their sampling campaigns. On one hand, you can never have too much creativity. The more creative a campaign is, the better! However, if it seems like this creativity isn’t backed by data-driven, sure-fire marketing strategies, it might be hard to see positive results from brand events or marketing campaigns.

One way to determine credibility, experience, and knowledge is by looking into a product sampling company’s portfolio and peeking through any client reviews or testimonials they have. Results speak for themselves, and you’ll likely be able to tell through reading those testimonials and looking at their projects whether or not that agency is successful and credible.

Bonus: Don’t Be Afraid to “Shop Around”

Someone in a store looking at two different products.
Two women comparing different options they have.

Never be afraid to “shop around” for more than one product sampling agency. What we mean by this is that you should never put all your eggs in one sampling agency basket. Even if you’re pretty confident in choosing a specific agency to help with your sampling, it’s still a good idea to look around and see what other agencies have to offer. After all, you never know what you’ll find if you remain open to the different possibilities!

Communicating Your Experiential Marketing Needs & Wants

Multiple people sitting around a table, with laptops, shaking hands and figuring out a deal.
Someone writing down a list of needs they have for a business.

Just like your customers want you to listen to their feedback, you want prospective sampling agencies to listen to you, right? As the old saying goes, communication is a two-way street. You won’t be able to maximize your results unless you’re willing to communicate with an agency just as much as they communicate with you.

Don’t Be Afraid of Giving Constructive Criticism

A chalkboard with the words "Your Feedback Matters" with business people sitting around it.
Two women sitting at a table giving each other criticism.

Communicating your experiential marketing needs and wants in product sampling plans doesn’t have to be rocket science. However, there can be some difficult conversations that arise if you’re afraid to give your honest opinion and feedback to an agency regarding the services they provide to you. What goes from “oh, I can brush that off” can quickly turn into “oh my goodness, my marketing is all over the place!” if you aren’t willing to give a marketing company constructive criticism when things don’t go as planned.

It’s also important to understand that it’s not the end of the world if a particular sampling strategy doesn’t end up the way you want it to. Being able to engage in trial and error is part of the marketing process that only helps you figure out and solidify what truly works when perfecting all your strategies.

Give Compliments When They’re Due

A businessman with a thumbs up.
People sitting around a table giving compliments to one another from a business standpoint.

On the other hand, sampling agencies sure appreciate you telling them when things do go right! Sure, they can see the measurable results that the data campaigns give you. Without that “deciding factor” of your final word as a business owner, it might be difficult for that agency to create further campaigns with you that both of you are aligned with!

With that being said, give credit where credit is due. This is your business, after all. Take pride in the success of your collaboration with a product sampling agency!

Collaborate On Numerous Product Sampling Plans

An employee of a business handing out samples to consumers about events.
A woman handing out a sample of a product to a consumer who is looking at different products.
Members of a product sampling agency sitting around a table planning a campaign.

Another way to get the best results from a product sampling agency is to collaborate on not just one, but multiple product sampling campaigns. As another famous saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. In the case of marketing, you’ll see the most success when you try multiple strategies at once.

This way, you can not only test what specific campaigns and styles of sampling work best for you, but you can also eliminate what doesn’t work the best for your brand. Don’t be afraid to play around with your campaigns a little bit; you’ll never know what you might discover as the next big marketing hit.

Think about it from this perspective. You undoubtedly have multiple marketing goals, right? Why not collaborate with your product sampling agency and create numerous product sampling plans tailored to each of your goals? 

Making Future Business Decisions

A business man standing at the front of many paths, looking into the future.
A man looking at a computer screen making business decisions for the future.

After all is said and done and you’ve closed the book on your initial sampling campaigns, it’s time to look towards the future of business development. Depending on your specific industry, what business development looks like will be slightly different. 

Always remember that you’ve got a product sampling agency at your side to not only help you with more campaigns but also give you recommendations that will help your business grow the most and succeed. 

Get Ready to Grow With A Little Bird

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A Little Bird is a brand engagement and experiential marketing agency that specializes in consumer product goods. No, we aren’t just limited to one type of product, either. Whether your business specializes in better for your snacks, beverages, health and supplements, beauty products, or anything in between, we’re here to help you out.

Our creative agents have years of experience providing value to tons of different clients. We help bring your goals to fruition by working personally with you to create creative, yet data-driven solutions that drive quantifiable results. 

So, the next time you ask yourself, "Does product sampling benefit brands?", give us a call. We'll help you increase brand loyalty, gain more potential customers, and drive sales all from effective product sampling campaigns.

We’d love to get in touch with you and discuss how we can help you with your next product sampling program. Are you ready to let us help you reach new heights? Contact us today to get started on the journey of a lifetime!